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Get to know Manalapan

If you’re looking for Manalapan on a map, you’ll have to zoom in pretty far on Google or grab a magnifying glass. The narrow municipality comprises two sections of land whose only shared border is the body of water that separates them. One portion occupies the lower third of Hypoluxo Island, the other a strip along Highway A1A below Palm Beach and up to the South Lake Worth Inlet—land is a hot commodity if you can secure it. Manalapan was founded under a “finders-keepers” philosophy when Harold Stirling Vanderbilt had an estate—the now-historic Eastover—built in the area. He then incorporated the town in 1931 and served as its first mayor. While you sadly won’t be able to follow that exact model, minimal development in Manalapan has kept the place feeling secluded and quiet, both qualities you’d want for a home truly on the water.

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Manalapan Commerce & Culture

In this low-density community where the population hovers around 400, the busiest intersection is a cul-de-sac. Water is literally everywhere and is the lifeblood of Manalapan’s culture. Most homes have private docks, and residents are as likely to run their errands in a runabout as in an automobile. Megayachts, however, need not apply—they must anchor elsewhere along the channel. The town’s Atlantic coast hides the Lofthus, an iron-hulled Norwegian vessel that shipwrecked off Manalapan’s shores in the late 19th century. Over a century later, the wreckage—now a home for marine flora and fauna—was declared historic and added to the Florida Underwater Archaeological Preserve, an underwater park. It’s something that only reinforces that if you want to find the action in Manalapan, it is best to start on or under the water.